Power to the Ewoks!

Sep 27, 21:15 by John Frost
Discussion of Dotar's confession.

(For the article itself: click here.)
Sep 28, 09:19 by Bluejack
I have to admit, I have always fallen into the anti-Ewok camp. I read somewhere that it was originally supposed to be the planet of the Wookies, but the marketers wanted something cute to market to little girls, so the reversed the name and shrunk the costumes. It always made me faintly nauseous, along with half a dozen other things in the film.

However, Dotar does give me pause. I am not unmoved by his (her?) arguments, and there's no question that to a certain degree I was going with the flow in my rejection of the Ewok.
Sep 28, 22:02 by travitt hamilton
I also have also been anti-ewok, and while we're at, it anti-ROTJ overall. Aside from the battle scenes, the thing is a total cheese-fest. But Dotar's piece, along with Not So Long Ago and Far Away, by Doug Williams in the Science Fiction Film Reader has sort of forced me (no pun, no pun) to change my mind, although I have not been in a big rush to see the movie again. Williams points out that while the films may be weak in many particulars (the acting, stiff; the writing, wooden), the overall conception of the series is both rich and serious. Furthermore, Lucas himself has said that some of the critical targets (the acting, the writing) are actually the result of conscious decisions on his part to emulate the film serials of the 30s. Dotar's confession has forced me to look at the ewoks in this light as well. Taking them seriously, of course, does not make them not really, really annoying. In 20 years are we going to have to re-evaluate Jar Jar and Hayden Christensen too?
Sep 28, 22:24 by Carey McGee
It's true that Endor's moon was originally supposed to be populated by wookies, but this was in the very early stages of planning the whole series, and by the time Jedi came about, Lucas decided that he because of the way he had developed Chewbacca, a planet of wookies would be too civilized. He wanted a race that was more primitive, hence the ewoks. I'm sure there are a lot of people that would like to attribute it to "marketers," but after seeing the product when Lucas has total creative control, I think it's easy to imagine the ewoks as his own creation.

My own (rather reductive) summary of the five movies so far is that with the exception of Empire, they all decline in direct proportion to the quality of lightsaber battles: the better the lightsaber fights, the worse the movie.
Sep 29, 01:23 by Thomas Reeves
I was a child when the trilogy came out so liked the Ewoks. Even watched the cartoon series and TV specials. Granted in some ways though they are, even by the defense of them, a kind of noble savage archetype. Just limiting to "Return of the Jedi" they're almost like an idealized version of the Pygmies, but with fur. They live in forests, are small, un-technological, spiritual, etc. Granted their reverence for C3PO is a bit more like some kind of South Pacific Cargo Cult. (The Ituri, Baka, etc Pygmies would've had little reason to worship metal objects I think) The Mayas are a weak comparison as they are much more advanced and bloodthirsty than what we see of the Ewoks.

Anyway even comparing them to the Pygmies they aren't quite like the Pygmies. As mentioned I mean an archetypical version of them, with a good deal less sexual tensions or tragedy of real Pygmy life. Now archetypes are fine, as that's largely what Lucas was dealing with, but after awhile I think you want something more real. The Ewoks are never made into a very real culture. The upshot of that is you can fill in whatever you want in them. The downside is there might ultimately be "no there there."

Now the Podlings of "the Dark Crystal" are different. Not as loveable as Ewoks, but they are neat. Although only the word "thank you" is translated from their language, it's clear their language and culture are real. Even if not understood at the end of the movie. I kind of wish the movie had succeeded more as their culture could be kind of cool to get into. Plus musically, they rock!

This is a bit overanalyzing, but I remember as a teen thinking about how the Smurfs compared to the anarchic village societies of West Africa or the anarcho-socialist communes of the nineteenth century Utopians. Anarchic, because ultimately Papa Smurf had no real authority of any kind. In one episode Brainy set up a system of police, laws, and even a prison while Papa was away. It failed and at the end Papa gave the message those were human things they were too good for. The scenes involving the prison, embarrassingly, I think did come to mind when I first read "The Dispossessed an Ambiguous Utopia" by Le Guin. Also Handy was inventive, but his inventiveness was disregarded by his fellows as was Shevek's to Anarres. So I was thinking once of even watching it again to, tongue in cheek, write "The Smurfs: An Ambiguous Utopia." Then I realized how crazy that sounds!

Oddly though why I most wanted to post was to agree with the reviewer on Ender's Game. I'm not quite as harsh on it, but I find it disturbing. It made me cry when almost no other book had, but that's part of why I dislike it. It's so cruel, and purposely directs most of its cruelty at children. That this book is considered a "juvenile" now I find almost distressing. Although possibly it'd have the value to kids of thinking "in least my life isn't this terrible."
Sep 29, 03:25 by Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Bordeline paedophilia in Ender's Game? I must be very naive. I just don't see it.
Sep 29, 08:12 by Yoon Lee
I admit I'm in the camp that enjoyed Ender's Game, perhaps because I found the cruelty plausible, even honest.

On the other hand, if there's borderline paedophilia, I didn't see it either. Mind you, I missed all the (implied) sex scenes in McCaffrey's Dragonflight, which probably had to do with being in 4th grade when I first read it. :-p
Sep 29, 09:23 by John Frost
I have to admit, I was completely suckered by Ender's Game ... much of the strength of the novel lies in the trick ending, which tricked me completely.

I don't recollect any pedophilic themes, and I was old enough to pick up on them. I have read a lot of Card's other stuff as well, and while I wouldn't say I have ever detected any pedophilic elements, I *would* say that his views of childhood tend to annoy me greatly: he loves to imagine brilliant children, but he sees them as just small adults. I never get the feeling that his young protagonists are, actually, young. And sometimes the "intelligence" is just magic. It doesn't matter how smart you are, you can't learn a language by hearing a snippet of conversation down the hall one day. (Ender's Shadow.)

Indeed, the whole Ender's series was a pretty steep downhill ride. I enjoyed the second, found the third to be deathly dull, and stopped there. I did borrow Ender's Shadow from the library, and it left me feeling cheated.
Sep 29, 11:14 by travitt hamilton
I'm with Yoon Ha on the Ender's Game cruelty issue and I also missed the pedophilia. One element of Dotar's piece that I especially like is the contrarianism. You have to respect the cojones of somebody who likes ewoks, hates Ender and says so in writing, out loud, on an SF site.

Back to Star Wars, I'm with cmcgee on this: "I'm sure there are a lot of people that would like to attribute it to "marketers," but after seeing the product when Lucas has total creative control, I think it's easy to imagine the ewoks as his own creation."

The cloying cutsiness of young Anakin in Ep I is absolutely proof of Lucas' weakness for cheese.
Sep 29, 14:57 by Camden
Well my dislike of "Ender" didn't mean agreeing in detail with her criticism. "Borderline pedophilia" seemed a bit of a stretch. True you have a world of boys where Ender discredits his enemy by vaguely implying he is homosexual, but this didn't strike me as anything leaning toward that.

I didn't find the cruelty all that realistic. You're older brother torture animals and plot to take over the world? Did you're younger brother accidentally kill a kid who was bullying him? Even the stories I've read of child soldiers aren't quite as designed to tug at your heart strings the way Ender's was. It just made me feel a constant pity for the kid, until I was drained by the end. I've read stories of kids in concentration camps that found more joy than he did.
Sep 30, 04:01 by Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Incidentally, Sojat is a 'he'! I just checked the profile at the bottom of the article.
Sep 30, 07:43 by Adrian Simmons
I might have some sympathy for the Ewoks, but Gungans? Never. I do have to admit that I did get a thrill as a kid when the Ewoks bring down one of the walkers with the rolling log trap.

Sep 30, 12:26 by Mike Bailey
Yub, Yub! I'm with you! God how I love those furry little big-hearted tuff-guys! ;-)
Oct 1, 07:00 by Amy Sisson
Over at RevolutionSF, they have a humorous contest to explain why the Wookies were replaced by Ewoks:


They have a different contest every week or so. They're kind of fun.
Oct 1, 15:21 by John Frost
Some of the past contests are hilarious. Here's a link to the site: RevolutionSF
Oct 17, 17:31 by Victor Gonzalez
Gibson and Adams put down, and yet Card gets defended in the forums?

Oct 17, 21:46 by Michael-Xavier Maelstrom
Let's calculate this shall we, Douglas Adams and William Gibson, 2 prose innovaters shot down, whilst Ewoks are raised.


<scribble><scribble><erase><carry the 2>

This ```article''' was pure FLAME-BAIT theatrics.

Excrement article, excrement analytical skills. Excrement flame-baiting agenda, excremently executed.

Pseudo-Alliteration quota filled, we move on.

I shan't dignify that retarded spree of fooltrop pawned off as opine by defending the Authors since it's a given that they were incidental, selected primarily precisely because of the place of respect they 'old in the genre literary community.

(stay tuned next week, when this bold ```writer''' guns for Asimov and Heinlein and sings the praise of Jar Jar Binks)

I will 'owever play to this extent:


You mis/sir are a gungan excuse for a writer, your opine is inept, your analytical skills are Claude Rains; which is of course precisely why the only recourse you (apparently) felt you 'ad left was to make the most pedantic outlandish fooltrop statement that you could comfortably pull from your rectum and wipe all over the IROSF walls.

Read: "How can I be counter-hip? I know, I'll dis William Gibson and Douglas Adams and praise Ewoks, ha!"

In all seriousness, The _Problem with this Ann Coulter/Rush Limbaugh/CNN Crossfire flame-baiting theatrics approach is that it lowers the credibility and (reading) value of the entire IROSF'ere.

Listen up 'mate, I come to IROSF to read _intelligent informed opine_, please do not serve us (those of us that come 'ere for intelligent insightful reviews und opine primarily) and more importantly, serve ME, inane crap like that again; simply because some dunderhead can't tell the difference between taking a brave-path-less-travelled opinion route vs pawning outlandish uninformed idiotic flame-baiting ````controversial''' statements off as "daring" [breath] doesn't mean -we- can't.

(read it again, I'd re-punctuate it, but I'm FAR too lazy for that)

If this is what this place 'as come to, so be it, but please inform us, and more importantly, me (because of course I am incredibly important) so that I may either remove IROSF from my websites SF high-recommend list, or re-classify und re-nomen it RKZFBV,

An Retarded Kiddie Zine Flame-Bait Ville denizen.

(is it the Kiddie-Zine Flame-Bait Ville that's Retarded or the Denizen? - Ed)

Go Away Ed.

Oct 17, 22:19 by travitt hamilton
I must have missed the part where everybody was praising Card.
He annoyed one of us, several of us found various elements of his work unrealistic, someone disliked Ender/, someone said they felt cheated. And the original reference in the article obviously hated him. A few of us said we didn't catch the pedophilia. I wasn't aware that counted as mounting some type of literary defense. Were you reading the same forum I was?

And to michaelmaelstrom: one article you don't like and you say IROSF has no credibility (I'd re-read for the exact quote, but I'm FAR too lazy for that)? And Douglas Adams, a prose innovator?
Oct 18, 00:08 by Carey McGee
michaelmaelstrom, it's fine for you to disagree with the premise or the execution of the article, but to accuse it of being baiting theatrics is ridiculous and hypocritical, unless perhaps you can come up with some other reason for the abusive tone of your post.

Thinking that the article is poorly written or ill-reasoned is one thing, but to suggest that the author doesn't really hold these opinions and is just doing this to stir you and your kind up is tiresome.

I invite you to crack open your cynical little heart for a moment and consider that the world is full of all manner of people and some of them like ewoks. Just because someone voices an opinion that you disagree with doesn't mean they're trying to be controversial. Not everyone is so concerned as you seem to be with "hipness" or "counter-hipness" or being hip-deep in some bullshit rhetoric about what is and is not acceptable to like.

I like Douglas Adams and I am not that fond of ewoks, but I am offended by the suggestion that having opposite ideas is somehow disingenuous, just as I would be offended by someone suggesting that the only reason I have the ideas that I do is to hedge to some notion of what-is-acceptable.

For someone who presents himself as so concerned with "intelligent" opining, you have certainly swept it out the door quickly enough. The article is simply an attempt to offer a different perspective, and it's a shame that you find that so threatening, but your phony attempt to demonstrate what the article is "really about" is just so much empty pot-banging.
Oct 18, 00:41 by Michael-Xavier Maelstrom

I did not say IROSF has no credibility, quite the contrary, I read IROSF because I hold it in high esteem.

IROSF holds the top spot on my web-zine recommends to friends, but it reflects horridly on IROSF that this sort of childish pointless drivel (this article) is being published within.

It's intellectually dubious at best to consider writing (or reading -Ed) an "why I love Ewoks" article _here_ (emphasis on location); it's incendiary to frame it around an attack on Gibson and Adams.

Myself, I would 'ave been far more charitable had the article simply promoted the love of Ewoks, but combining it with an attack on innovative genre writers?

What was the point?

You know it as well as I do, we've all wanted to defend what has become the indefensible, it is a part of the (genre) culture DNA., a mutation of the root-for-the-underdog gene that many of us share.

Many 'ave tried, defending a derided remake here, a disreputed work there, but a pre-requisite to even attempting to embark upon that quest, is to have more to your case than the desire to make it.

Lest you do your own case, and your own credibility harm.

It's a lesson we all learn, young.

What was the argument? "I don't like <insert respected writer here>, I like Ewoks"

Where was the insight? the informed commentary? the argument?

Has the IROSF prime demographic suddenly become 12 year old boys?

I didn't believe so, and I don't expect to read pubescent flame-bait 'ere.

Took me by surprise it did.

Oct 18, 01:54 by Carey McGee
What was the argument? "I don't like <insert respected writer here>, I like Ewoks"

Stating an opinion is not the same thing as presenting an argument. This essay never proposed to be anything other than the "confession" of someone whose opinions are against the grain of mainstream SF fandom. I don't see how you can read it any other way, except that your view of it be clouded by defensiveness.

What you call an "attack" of Adams et al, is not an attack at all, but someone describing his contrary opinion.

I shan't dignify that retarded spree of fooltrop pawned off as opine by defending the Authors since it's a given that they were incidental, selected primarily precisely because of the place of respect they 'old in the genre literary community.

The reality is that these authors weren't "incedental"--strategically chosen for any rabble-rousing agenda--but precisely because they were the points of departure for him. If the point of the essay is "things I like that many others do not and it is generally considered unacceptable to like" and "things I dislike that many others do and it is generally considered foolish not to," then the items under consideration are chosen because they typify that situation.

The essay purports only to say, "this is how I feel, and I'm not going to be ashamed of it anymore." It's presentation is obviously a little tongue in cheek, but these are sincere opinions nonetheless, to which you respond by saying "you don't really feel that way, you just want to be controversial."

By attributing the opinions to some kind of "root for the underdog" gene, you're invalidating the opinions themselves--saying that no one (except perhaps 12-year-old boys) really feels that way.

What exactly is it that you want? A reasoned study in why the ewoks are so great? That wasn't the point of this article, and Dojat isn't trying to convince anyone that the ewoks are to be universally loved, he's simply offering a personal essay about his ideas and opinions.

You seem to have a particular idea of what kind of articles should and should not be published on IROSF, but obviously the editors feel differently. There have been other personal statements, Jay Lake's article on the effect of the Hugo on his life is a prime example, which offer no argument but simply opinion. I'm not sure why you're so upset by the fact that things other than critical analyses are being published here.
Oct 18, 02:51 by Michael-Xavier Maelstrom
What you call an "attack" of Adams et al, is not an attack at all, but someone describing his contrary opinion. - Cmcgee

let's look at the article directly:

Humor writing is hard, very hard, and he just couldn't maintain the funny. On top of that, the people who couldn't tell a joke to save their lives are always the ones who seem to think Mr. Adams's work is the bomb, and they won't stop their lame attempts to impart the limping humor to me. Dislike by association? Maybe. -- (An excerpt from) The Article In Question.

There is no plausible denial here, no mere fair presentation of personal opine, and no assumption of innocent intent can be reasonably maintained; the writer clearly crossed and meant to cross the line over to an attack on Douglas Adams here and additionally tossed in an direct personal attack on his fans as well.

I don't see how much clearer a case of flame-baiting one can get.

The aw-gee-whiz-I-waz-just-saying-I-wuv-cuwdly-Ewoks misdirection (were it attempted or assumed) would not even work at the K12 level; were it a class, the students nomened Adams, Gibson and Card would not forget they were attacked simply because the one named Ewok was 'appy ee was wuved.

and very few others in the class would fail to notice that fellow classmates Adams, Card and Gibson (and _their_ friends in the class) had been directly attacked.

As most reasonably intelligent people are aware, it is an predictable function of human nature that the response to being attacked is generally to defend and return the attack., ergo to engage in the attack _anyway_ knowing this, is prima faci to engage in deliberate antagonistic behavior designed to bring about a flame war.

"Humor writing is hard, very hard, and he just couldn't maintain the funny. On top of that, the people who couldn't tell a joke to save their lives are always the ones who seem to think Mr. Adams's work is the bomb, and they won't stop their lame attempts to impart the limping humor to me."

Pure and obvious, clear and present Flame-Baiting.

Oct 18, 05:15 by Carey McGee
let's look at the article directly:

And let's do. Specifically, let's look at the opening sentence to the paragraph you quoted: "I don't think Douglas Adams was all that great. Sorry. Maybe it was just the period of my life when I read his Hitchhiker's Guide books."

Perhaps the "I ... think" or "maybe it was just..." slipped your mind. I can understand why you omitted this in your reference, because they don't support your reading. As a matter of fact, it makes it seem as though you're simply leaping to cynical conclusions based on the motives you ascribe -- motives that you call "pure and obvious" despite the fact that you seem to be the only one who sees them.

Look, if this really was the "flame baiting" that you suppose, then where exactly was the flame that it was meant to stoke? The best counterexample I can offer of the ridiculousness of your assertions is the discussion that took place in this forum before you made your appearance.

The only outrage that I see here is yours, which either means that you're the only one who read it that way, or that everyone else is simply too stupid to know when they're being baited. I think this latter is the conclusion you prefer, given your statements so far. I'll leave you to it.
Oct 18, 09:28 by John Frost
Always nice to see a bit of a flame war on the forums. It's a good sign! It's kind of like when the Macintosh-specific virus hit the community. Apple was ecstatic -- finally, they were important enough to garner some attention from the "wrong crowd."

By the way, I stand by my choice of publishing "Ewoks" 100% -- I thought it was an insightful view onto the mentality of the fan, the fan who follows a fashion (mocking Ewoks), and who awakens to a deeper view of the work (even if the work doesn't necessarily warrant such a deeper view).

Many of us have had the reverse experience: some author or favorite work or series that we loved in younger years reveals itself to be derivative, poorly-written, ill-conceived, and just plain dreck in later years. To examine the inverse, even if it's in a manner that some don't care for, is -- I think -- a worthy effort.

Carry on!

Oct 18, 12:55 by Michael-Xavier Maelstrom
cmcgee, Flame-bait is flame-bait when it fulfills the criteria of being so. Period.

It has fulfilled the critieria, whether you personally wish to acknowledge it or not.

It was an _direct_ attack on Adams and apparently uncontent to rest there, additionally tossed in an (mindbogglingly - Ed) personal attack directly aimed at the fans of the author.

And this is but one example of flame-baiting within the text.

But it is clear from your reply tactics that you have difficulty distinguishing between the expression of personal opine and flaming; there is an remarkable parallel between the ```writers''' antagonistic flame-baiting tactics and your own, no surprise then that you would defend it.

It is clear that you believe that as long as one shouts "I'm not doing anything, it's all in your mind" _while_ one is attacking someone, that this will somehow suffice so that no one will notice.

Your assertion that "no one else noticed", is additionally as equally delirious, a good portion of this thread rotates around a response to the flaming of the authors in the article.

"Humor writing is hard, very hard, and he just couldn't maintain the funny. On top of that, the people who couldn't tell a joke to save their lives are always the ones who seem to think Mr. Adams's work is the bomb, and they won't stop their lame attempts to impart the limping humor to me."

Again, defending this statement and others like it as not-calculatingly-flame-baiting is juvenile, it is an infants surreal tactics, the "Reality is whatever I say it is" pubescent phase of debate, and it is effectively a conversation with trying tar.

Flame-baiting is flame-baiting when it fulfills the criteria. Period.

Repeat and Augment.

Oct 18, 13:16 by Michael-Xavier Maelstrom
I would expect nothing less of an publisher than to support his writers.

By the way, I stand by my choice of publishing "Ewoks" 100% -- Jf

You may very well have good reason to feel he's worth printing, for my part 'owever, I feel this writer has a while to go yet before he's worth reading in IROSF.

Oct 20, 18:28 by Isaac Brown
Well, this article annoyed me as well, but not because I thought it was flamebaiting, it is the aspect of the Ewoks that he was defending... the fact that rise up to fight the Empire—and win. I was never bothered by their cuteness, what annoyed me was the insane impossibility of that. On one side you have the Ewoks, who's technology is roughtly that of prehistoric stoneage Earth. On the other side, you have the Empire, the most advanced and powerful army in existence at that time, the one which has enslaved the entire galaxy, the one we saw trampling over the Rebel base in Empire Strikes Back. And that was an army with blasters! Maybe if they'd used logs, rocks, and spears they would have had better luck. Heck, modern armies of real world today wouldn't be able to fight the empire and win, but apparently the armies of 5000 years ago can? It was just non-sense. But that was the part of if the author of this article liked best, so that is why I did not like this article.
Oct 21, 10:20 by Carey McGee
cmcgee, Flame-bait is flame-bait when it fulfills the criteria of being so. Period.

It has fulfilled the critieria, whether you personally wish to acknowledge it or not.

It was an _direct_ attack on Adams and apparently uncontent to rest there, additionally tossed in an (mindbogglingly - Ed) personal attack directly aimed at the fans of the author.

Your criteria for what makes something flame-bait seems to be (in this case) when it is an "attack." I am not saying that you don't consider Dojat's comments to be an attack, what I contend is that they are not unequivocally actually an attack. What you deem "a direct attack" seems to me to be based on a rather fragile threshold. If I considered it an attack every time someone told me I wasn't funny, I would feel absolutely beseiged. However, I'm willing to live in a world where people don't get my jokes without feeling like I'm surrounded by enemies.

There are a lot of things that I dislike, and pointing out that I dislike them, or how much I dislike them, cannot automatically be considered an attack on those things. All I am asking you to do is open up to the possibility that not everyone reacts to the same words in the same way, and that what you so vehemently believe is an attack many other people read and see simply as an opinion. To read "attack" into something that to me seems utterly harmless strikes me as a rather cynical reaction, and that was what bothered me in the first place--the fact that there seemed to be absolutely no room for appeal in your damnation of the essay, no possibility that your reaction to it was one that was, if not limited to yourself, certainly not the majority.

When I read the words Dojat wrote, I can only see in them: "I don't think that Douglas Adams is funny, and a lot of people who I also don't think are funny find him the funniest." I don't consider it an attack; I see in it neither hostility nor viciousness, only an assertion based on personal experience.

You obviously see something different and I readily concede that, for you, Dojat penned a juvenile and unnecessary attack--I'm not asking you to change your view of that. What I propose is that possibility that there is more than one way to read the words he wrote.
Oct 21, 12:29 by Yoon Lee
...I can understand why Dojat's article would annoy some people. On the other hand, it made my day. Not because I'm an Ewok fan, but because the humor struck the right chord for me.
Oct 25, 09:22 by Dotar Sojat
Wow. Thanks for the comments. Even the ones that sucked. Glad I could turn some of you into the pro-Ewok camp. As for those who still cling to their old bigotries, I can only hope I've planted a seed that will germinate crabgrass-like as you watch RETURN OF THE JEDI in the future.

As far as other out-of-the-mainstream comments that I made, a few clarifications might be in order:

Re: Adams- I never said he wasn't funny, just that he couldn't maintain it.

Re: Ender's Game- was I the only one alarmed by all the naked and half-naked boys running around the space station among the stern military men?

Feb 24, 14:14 by johanna n
The only comment I have thus far is to the flippant suggestion in the article of subtitling the Ewoks. It'd be entirely possible: the Ewoks speak Tagalog, one of the main languages of the Philippines.

Puts a whole different spin on things, doesn't it? (& not a nice one)

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